A couple of weeks ago, Alcovy High School senior Jeffrey Hexom went to his mailbox and found a letter from the United States Military Academy at West Point inside.
Hexom opened the letter to discover he would have the opportunity to attend the Army's prominent college in Highland Falls, N.Y. and stand in "The Long Gray Line" of the academy's graduates.
"I was amazed," Hexom said. "They sent a little plaque and everything."
Of course, West Point was Hexom's first choice when he applied to the academy and Randolph-Macon College in the fall of his junior year.
Because of the rigorous appointment process, it took more than a year to receive word he had been accepted - and it began to worry him.
"I was about to apply to [Georgia] Southern, but I got my acceptance letter so I didn't need to," Hexom said.
Appointees to USMA must be nominated by a member of the U.S. Congress or the Department of the Army for their academic success and leadership qualities, as well as pass scrupulous medical and physical examinations.
Approximately 1,200 cadets are appointed to the academy each year and all attend free of charge.
While a student at Alcovy High, Hexom has played receiver on the school's football team and was a member of the golf team.
He has been named to the A/B honor roll every year of his high school career.
Hexom said science is his favorite subject and plans to eventually major in pre-med or engineering, aspiring to either become a physician or defense contractor.
All cadets graduate from USMA with a Bachelor of Science and must serve a mandatory five years in the Army. Most graduates are commissioned into the Army as second lieutenants.
Hexom's father served 20 years in the Army, moving his family all around the country. He has lived in Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota and in Savannah before coming to Newton County.
He said he enjoys the warm weather in the South and will miss the mild Georgia winters he will trade for the frigid Hudson Valley season. The weather is not what he'll miss the most, however.
"I'll miss being with my family and friends," Hexom said.
Hexom said he feels honored to have been chosen to attend the academy which educated presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower, Generals George S. Patton and Douglas MacArthur and astronauts Frank Borman and Buzz Aldrin.
"The experience is going to be a good thing," Hexom said. "It's going to be hard, but I'm looking forward to it."